Mlambo-Ngcuka heads SA delegation at Aids conference

Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has left for Mexico City to attend the United Nations XVII International Aids Conference scheduled for Sunday, the Presidency said on Saturday.

Speaking from Mexico City, spokesperson Thabang Chiloane said Mlambo-Ngcuka is heading the South Africa delegation comprising the deputy minister of correctional services, officials from the department of health, provincial ministers of health and social development, and sections of civil society.

Chiloane said South Africa has made significant progress regarding HIV/Aids after the Toronto conference two years ago, when the country received criticism for its efforts to fight the disease.

“We have made significant progress. The National Strategic HIV/Aids Plan 2007-2011 is in place and it has ambitious targets in prevention, treatment and care,” Chiloane said.

He said the government and Aids organisations now have a “good working relationship”, and the deputy of the South African National Aids Council is from the civil society sector.

Chiloane said the government also remains committed to ensuring that people who need antiretroviral treatment receive it.

Commenting on the relevance of the conference, Chiloane said it is a “huge” event and that the value of it will be judge by what happens afterwards.

“The conference has almost 30 000 delegates ... it is what happens after the conference that matters,” he said.—Sapa

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